Telehealth refers to providing medical care to patients at a distance using telecommunications equipment. With telemedicine, doctors can evaluate, diagnose and treat patient via Skype or similar live video conferencing equipment.
Telehealth is the natural evolution of healthcare in today’s digital world. This way of delivering healthcare is extremely useful as it can reach patients in rural areas or be used in areas that have a shortage of medical professionals and clinics, such as in lower-socioeconomic communities. Telemedicine is especially helpful for patients who might not have regular transportation to get into doctor’s appointments or elderly patients who are housebound.
Telemedicine has undergone an incredible amount of growth in the last decade or so. It is becoming an increasingly important way for doctors and other healthcare providers to deliver healthcare to patients.
Mordor Intelligence estimates that the global telemedicine will be worth more than $34 billion by the end of the year 2020. Wondering what’s new in telehealth? Here are some trends that will help spur the growth of telehealth in 2019 and beyond.
#1 Greater Capabilities
Thanks to technological advancements, medical providers will be able to diagnose and treat patients much easier via telehealth. Insurance companies and health care providers are already using wearable technology to collect patient data. The same technology can be used to help physicians more easily deliver care via telehealth. For instance, the newest Apple Watch has an ECG feature, so users can take a single-lead ECG anytime using their smartwatch. If a patient wearing an Apple Watch receives an alert that their heart rate is abnormal, they can then send this alert to their primary care physician. A chronic heart failure patient can share the results of their Apple Watch heart monitoring with their cardiologist. This technology cannot replace the expertise of a physician or the capabilities of a fully-staffed clinic, but it can be used by telehealth practitioners to provide better care.
#2 Greater Access To Specialty Care
Access to specialty care is out of reach for many patients. This type of care can be very expensive. Many people who need to see a specialist cannot — either because they can’t afford it or they don’t have insurance. In certain areas of the country, there is a shortage of specialists. Additionally, many specialists don’t like to take lower-income patients because the reimbursement rates are so low. So, patients struggle with incomplete care.
In the future, telehealth will provide a greater opportunity for patients to access care from a specialist. Psychiatrists and mental health specialists are already providing a range of services via telehealth, including psychiatric evaluations.
The opportunities for specialist care are numerous. Nephrologists can manage chronic kidney patients using remote healthcare monitoring. Gastoloigsts can treat chronic conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, and Endocrinologists can manage patients with diabetes and other chronic illnesses via telemedicine.
#3 Better Security
Data security is vital when it comes to telehealth. The risk of unauthorized access to medical data keeps many health care clinics and practitioners from utilizing telemedicine. The good news is that telehealth security keeps improving all the time. As more and more medical professionals and clinics use telehealth to deliver care, expert to see even better security over time. In the future, things like encryption of data on all portable devices and secure cloud storage will help enhance security.
Telehealth is the future of healthcare delivery. Having a good electronic medical records solution and utilizing an online patient portal for payments can help you implement telehealth in your practice. These things can help you streamline your practice and better deliver telehealth services to patients. For more tips on how to increase your productivity and enhance your practice, check out our website.